“The blood of the Chinese people should not be shed in vain and those behind this incident will pay the price,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.
Three Chinese nationals and a local man were killed after what appeared to be a targeted suicide bombing outside the University of Karachi’s Confucius Institute on Tuesday afternoon.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it strongly condemns and expresses great indignation over this major terrorist attack, conveys deep condolences to the victims and sympathies to the injured and bereaved families.
The Foreign Ministry and Chinese diplomatic missions in Pakistan will continue to urge relevant Pakistani departments to deal with the aftermath, treat the injured and resolutely crack down on the terrorist organisations involved.
“Judging from the surveillance footage, the attack is a suicide bombing,” Li Wei, an expert on national security at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Tuesday, noting that this could be the upgrade from the usual roadside bombing tactics used by the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA).
Before 2021, the BLA used more roadside bombs to launch terror attacks. But since then, the BLA has refined their attack methods, including the use of children as suicide bombers, Li said, noting that “this is probably because they were supported by other parties.”
Experts feel the terrorist attack on Chinese citizens is unlikely to be connected to the recent political changes in Pakistan. While there have been some protests since the change in leadership, the situation has not gotten out of hand, Global Times reported.
The root cause of this terrorist attack is that the soil for the growth of terrorism and religious extremism in Pakistan has not been removed, and the environment in which terrorism thrives has always existed, said Chinese experts.
As the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has entered a critical period, some separatist and extreme forces, who think the CPEC is an achievement of the Pakistan government which will be to the detriment of their desire for independence, hold an increasingly hostile attitude toward projects connected with it, Zhu Yongbiao, director of the Centre for Afghanistan Studies in Lanzhou University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
The CPEC runs through areas with complicated disputes among different religious groups and ethnic groups with their own complex political and economic interests, Zhu said.
Moreover, the US’ withdrawal from Afghanistan last year has greatly affected the security situation in South Asia. Since last year, attacks increased in Pakistan and attacks targeting Chinese people and companies also increased. The terrorist forces in Pakistan have been encouraged and united, which worsens the security situation in the country, said Zhu.
The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan on Tuesday also reminded Chinese citizens, companies and projects to pay close attention to the security situation in Pakistan, improve security measures and not to go outside unless necessary.
Pakistan stepped up its protection of CPEC projects, especially after the Dasu attack last year. However, the protection of “soft targets” like the Confucius Institute at the University of Karachi is far less than that of other projects.
Meanwhile, the terrorist organisations chose female suicide bombers, which is not easy to guard against, analysts said, Global Times reported.
An executive of a Chinese state-owned company, which has wide investment in Pakistan, told the Global Times on condition of anonymity on Tuesday that its projects in Pakistan have “very strict security standards,” without elaborating on detailed measures.
In the wake of the Tuesday attack, China State Construction has launched a security review, not only into goods and products, but also technologies and relevant personnel, and the company’s institutions and projects in Pakistan are safe, a company spokesperson told the Global Times on Tuesday.
The company will upgrade its security to ensure the safety of employees, the spokesperson said, adding that the firm prioritises the safety and health of Chinese employees.
China State Construction has invested in a number of flagship projects under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, including the Peshawar-Karachi Motorway, the largest transportation infrastructure project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.